The promise of government accountability, better government services, and new economic opportunity is why we do what we do.
At the Sunlight Foundation, we spend each day striving to make government more open and transparent by ensuring government data is easily accessible to the public online and in real-time. Around the country there are countless others trying to do the same.
A First Amendment battle between the Rockingham County commonwealth’s attorney and the James Madison University student newspaper reportedly has been resolved with the paper agreeing to turn over 20 images to law enforcement officials and the state paying the paper’s lawyers.
It was a cruel spring at Mr. Jefferson’s University. In what should have been a time of flowering dogwoods and days of hope and promise for the future, the University of Virginia found itself in the midst of two issues of national interest, and both including a transparency element.
There is a fascinating competition from Sunlight Labs called Design for America:
Can California’s budget-stricken government be improved through citizen engagement and civic developers? If a new application contest that launches this week bears digital fruit, there just might be an app for that.
The state of California will partner with Microsoft, Google and Programmable Web to run an apps contest this summer. “While California is one of the anchor supporters, it wouldn’t be possible without the help of the Center for Digital Government, which brought together the framework for the contest to be held,’ said Adrian Farley, chief deputy CIO for the State of California, speaking in an interview Tuesday morning. “Without their sponsorship, this wouldn’t have happened.
Since President Obama issued his Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government in 2008, there has been renewed interest in these topics at all levels of government in the U.S. The memorandum and the corresponding Open Government Initiative has sparked a wave of innovation across the federal government to make data more available, communicate to citizens in new ways, and even provide opportunities for participation and discussion of policy ideas. At the state and local levels, the ongoing development of web technologies has made possible a host of innovative projects freeing data, crowd-sourcing policy, and opening up government processes.
Although some of the technology used may be new, the topics are not. Participation in democratic governance has been subject to debate, regulation, and experimentation for decades. Many questions surround the topics. In an era of limited resources, why should governments spend resources making raw data available, and if they do, what is the purpose? How should participation be integrated with representative democracy? How can the government invite collaboration in policymaking without abandoning the role of policy experts?
In this way, open government is connected to debates about the nature of power, the structure of democracy, and the role of information and expertise in government. This reading list is exploratory, and your comments and suggestions are welcomed.